En route to World bronze in Wales – photo by Andy Stark
Hill runner Robbie Simpson is ready to change course for the next few months and focus on marathon.
The GB international and World Champs bronze medallist is making plans for an effort at the 26-mile distance early in 2016.
It will be his first serious marathon attempt and with a half marathon PB at 65 minutes the Deeside Runner athlete may have an eye on the 2.14 Olympic qualifying time or indeed the required standard for the Gold Cost Commonwealth Games.
Simpson, of course, was short-listed for Scottish Athlete of the Year last weekend alongside winner Laura Muir and track stars Lynsey Sharp and Eilidh Child.
He attended the Awards Dinner with his family on a short break from his training base in Germany and spoke about his pride at making the short-list; why he loves hill running; and his winter training plans for a spring marathon.
‘I was totally chuffed to be on the short-list when you look at the names that are there and the level those athletes are at. It was a privilege to be mentioned in the same company as them and I’m proud of that in itself as an achievement.
‘I’ve had a good year and I’m glad that hill running is getting this kind of recognition. We’re up there with top track and field athletes – and hill running doesn’t always get that kind of a mention!
It is not seen as mainstream or popular so if I am there representing a different strand of the sport, off the back of the World Champs in Wales or whatever, then I’m happy with that.
Robbie at the Awards – photo by Bobby Gavin
‘Hill running suits me and I find it so enjoyable. I have always loved racing – any kind of racing. I started out in my mid-teens doing cross country in the winter and track and field in the summer.
‘But for me the track was too limiting in some way. You are always running around in a circle in a stadium and I just want to be out running through a forest or up in the hills on great paths and seeing nice parts of the countryside. Hill running has just been perfect for me in that regard.
‘It is good for your endurance, obviously, and I’d recommend people to have a go if they can.
‘But now I am going to give the marathon a go in the spring.
‘I have done a lot of hill running this past year and I am happy with what I have done. Now I feel it is a good decision to see what I might be capable of in a marathon.
‘I am feeling fit and I have enough time to do the right kind of preparation and mileage for it. In the winter it is very snowy where I live so it makes sense just to focus on some road running for a few months and see where I can go with that.’